Well, the weather's warming up and I'm finally starting to think about my aims and tactics for the year ahead. If all goes to plan - and weather permitting, I'm planning my first session of the year
for later February or early March - at The Other Pool. I'm going to give this pool one last big push to unlock its mysteries: by which I mean the larger fish; and I'm willing to blank. I expect I will catch plenty of carp, however, because there are decent
numbers of carp - mainly commons - in the 4lb to 8lb bracket, and you're more likely to catch these than the doubles - and, of course, you are far more likely to catch a double than to stick a hook in one of the real biggies. I believe I've lost at least two
really big fish there, because the place is Snag Alley, basically. That was a few years ago. Are the big fish still there? I think so - I saw a common jump three times in succession last summer, and it must have been low to mid twenties. The biggest carp I
ever saw there, on the top, was considerably larger than that: but that was back in 2012, I think. However, even though otters have visited since, the pool is very deep in most spots, and I have faith that most of the wiser carp would be able to keep well
out of the way. There have been no reported incidences of "bodies on the bank", so that's good news. Therefore, the main focus will be The Other Pool, with Hoveland - which has a good head of doubles and, I think, twenties, as a confidence builder when I start
to despair! Techniques and baits are changing. I've come across a new particle by chance - it's pretty new for the UK - which really excites me. Forgive me, I'm not going to say what it is, as yet, because I do want to keep it under my Gnome's hat, and
supplies could be rather tricky. And you won't find the angling weeklies talking about it either, by the way...I will say, however, that I want to resume experiments with "soft-tipping". I thought I'd come up with this idea all by myself; but it seems as if
our American cousins have been doing something similar for years. Basically, it involves using a soft paste to mask the hook point and the eye. I've used pate paste in the past, but now I'm thinking about using a Sonubaits paste, which looks rather good. Between
the eye and the point, however, will be the special particle, and free-offerings will be both the special particles and small balls of paste. The paste should dissolve around the feeding zone and add to the general atttraction. Rig wise - I'm pretty excited
about two or three float rig ideas I've come up with. Two are based on sight-bobbing, of course, but the other is a light float-ledger rig I've put together - even building the simple floats myself - and this will be the main rig I'll use at The Other Pool,
at least to begin with.
Why do I bother though? Why shouldn't I just stick the boilie on the hair and cast out at a well-stocked, micro-managed fishery? The simple answer is, I don't
want to.... I do think it's sad that many modern carp anglers have never experienced the thrill of striking into a double figure carp at close range. It's a totally different ball game. I do think, however, that traditional anglers are dividing into
two camps - with those who may use cane rods but ultra-modern terminal rigs - including hair rigs - to catch their fish, and those, like me, who behave as if the hair rig simply never happened: this, I think, is where true innovation may lie, because the semi-fixed/hair-rig
approach has been done by now - it's time to see what else can be done to fool the wily old carp, surely? As for water choice: I do think that if you're on a pool and you can see, say, four other anglers, it's too busy. I seek solitude, if possible;
- and that's not elitist. There will be small, interesting waters right under your nose and right on your doostep. As most carp anglers today seem to have the "Big Pit" mentality, you are likely to enjoy the smaller pools at your leisure - and remember, Redmire
is only about 2.75 acres - about the same size as The Other Pool, as it happens....
I live in hope, or delusion, as I must!